LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 10th-ranked UC San Diego men's water polo team sent its seniors off on a high note, making an exciting comeback to defeat No. 9 UC Irvine at Canyonview Pool Thursday evening.
Brian Donohoe scored the game-winning goal with under a minute to play in regulation.
UCSD finished out the regular season with a 14-7 overall record. UC Irvine sits at 14-10 with one week of regular season play remaining.
The Tritons came out with an impressive 3-0 lead to start the first quarter. UCI did not connect to the back of the net until 2:29 with a goal from Justin Papa, who finished the game with three goals for the Anteaters.
Down 3-2, UCI came out a much stronger team in the second quarter, outscoring the Tritons 5-2, despite UCSD drawing more ejections and earning more power play opportunities. The Anteaters took a 7-5 lead into half.
Josh Stiling scored UCSD's first goal of the second half late on the given shot clock to end the Anteaters' six goal run. Offensive ball movement was key for the Tritons' third quarter play as they had the score tied at 9-9 going into the final eight minutes of regulation.
UCI scored early in the fourth, but goals by both Stiling and Donohoe kept the Tritons in it. With the game tied at 11 with just 1:44 to play, each team would miss their first attempts at a goal.
Donohoe scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal when he pushed a rocket from the lefty side straight to the right corner of the cage.
Triton goalie Cameron Ravanbach came up with two big saves in the final 30 seconds to secure the win, UCSD's fifth straight. Ravanbach finished with 12 saves.
The thrilling 12-11 victory marked the first time the Tritons had beat the Anteaters since the 2006 season.
UCSD continues on to postseason play next weekend at the Western Water Polo Association Championship Tournament, hosted by Whittier College Nov. 16-18. The Tritons are likely to enter bracket play as the No. 1 seed.
UCSD 3 - 2 - 4 - 3 = 12
UCI 2 - 5 - 2 - 2 = 11
UCSD Goals: Josh Stiling 3, Joe Dietrich 2, Brian Donohoe 2, Broan Roach 2, John Butler, Luke Syka, Tiki Toplak
UCI Goals: Justin Papa 3, Jacob Mourer 3, Nick Pfeil 2, Alan Robertson, Kyle Kittlitz
UCSD Saves: Cameron Ravanbach 12
UCI Saves: Alex Kazmier 13
-- UCSDtritons.com --